The Lord’s Prayer calls for the name of God to be “hallowed.” Throughout the world of sin the name of God is blasphemed to some extent or other. Christians in our pattern prayer would do the opposite of blaspheme. God’s name would be declared sanctified – made holy – in how it was to be used. We could use the holy name of God in unholy ways. It does not change the fact that the name is holy in and of itself. Blasphemy is the ultimate surrender to unreality. To declare what is holy to be just the opposite and that which is unholy to be its opposite is to be lost.
Recent events and my study of Leonardo Boff’s book on The Lord’s Prayer: The Prayer of Integral Liberation, has helped me understand that the second creation story of Genesis begins with disobedience (sin) and leads to a prohibition of the sin of murder as retribution. It is this same story that tells us all life is given by God’s breath (spirit). The first story of creation declares all humankind to be made in the Divine image. These two statements when combined give us the idea we call “the sanctity of life.” Murder (and its attending violence) would then be an act of blasphemy against the image and breath of God. Attempting to destroy both of these becomes a perfectly established blasphemy.
Blasphemy takes many forms. Deliberate blasphemy as is done in religious satire offends against the Divine. And so is, as has happened today in Paris, the murder of those persons in the name of God. In fact, the act of murder would be worse given the above mentioned considerations. All sin is opposition to the divine will to some degree. Some actions are worse than others. Our responses to evil actions vary. We may disapprove of the acts of blasphemers who use the press or other media to convey their messages. Yet, if their safety, life, and health were in danger, it would be wrong stand by doing nothing because of our disapproval. We would by inaction deny the goodness of God. Our prayers should go out to those who would ridicule our praying.
Being truly human – possessing the divine image and the breath of God – does not allow us to seek heaven on earth by exercising vengeance on evil actions taken by evil people. We must seek justice and peace for all concerned. We too are sinners.